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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

THE DISPERSION OF GREEK EDUCATION     57

we are told that it was the High Priest Jason—whose Greek name
betrays his phil-Hellenism—who was responsible for this : " For
he eagerly established a Greek gymnasium and caused the noblest
of the young men to wear the Greek cap. And thus there was an
extreme of Greek fashion and an advance of an alien religion by
reason of the exceeding profaneness of Jason, that ungodly man
and no High Priest." The Greek gymnasium referred to in these
two passages, it should be noted, was not a mere place of exercise,
but a school for young men* The establishment of a gymnasium
really meant the introduction of Greek methods of education
among the Jews.

As a matter of feet, a beginning had been made with the
Hellenization of Jewish education sometime in the previous
century, as the book of Proverbs plainly shows. This book has no
very obvious order in it, but so far as it has any single theme, that
theme is education. This is brought out by the Preface, which
introduces the various collections of proverbs that make it up.
The aim of the book, the compiler declares, is " To know wisdom
and instruction; To discern the words of understanding. * . .
To give subtlety to the simple, To the young man knowledge and
discretion/'

Taking this view of Proverbs as primarily an educational
treatise, let us see what are its fundamental ideas about
education.

i. It is explicitly stated that the object of education is to make
a man wise. That is the prominent idea of the Preface, and it is
repeated in a hundred different forms throughout the book.
What does wisdom imply ? " Wisdom among the ancient
Hebrews/* says Canon Driver, " was a term which was used in
special connections and hence acquired a special limitation of
meaning. It was applied to the faculty of acute observation,
shrewdness in discovery or device, cleverness of invention/**
Joseph, for example, is called wise because of his skill in inter-
preting dreams. Solomon showed his wisdom in the skill with
which he elicited the truth in his judgment on the two infants,
and in the answers he gave to the riddles put to him by the Queen
of Sheba. In the Proverbs the wisdom that the young men are
enjoined to seek is of two different kinds. The predominant
element in it is wisdom in social matters. Honest dealing in

* Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament, p. 368,